Pc gives lift to prisoner who escaped to ‘go home’ to Bradford

A would-be killer escaped from an open prison last month and with the aid of an unspsecting Pc, returned to the Bradford area where he had launched a frenzied knife attack on his former girlfriend, a court heard today.

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Christopher Weston “jumped the fence” almost exactly a year after he had failed to return to Her Majesty’s Prison Sudbury in Derbyshire following his release on temporary licence.

The 35-year-old sparked a second manhunt after the authorities at HMP Kirkham in Lancashire realised that he was not present for a roll call on May 27.

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“He was not within the confines of the prison,” said prosecutor John Bull.

“Those circumstances were communicated to the police and it seems that the defendant was arrested the following day from an address in Holme Wood, Bradford.”

Weston’s lawyer Maria Temkow told Bradford Crown Court that her client was found at his sister’s home.

Miss Temkow said Weston had received some news about the welfare of his sister while at Kirkham and had taken the opportunity to “go home” by jumping the perimeter fence at the open prison.

She revealed that Weston was helped in his getaway by an unsuspecting police officer who gave him a lift to a railway station after being given false details.

Miss Temkow said after the hearing that Weston had borrowed his train fare from a kind stranger and had later returned the money with a thank you note.

Weston, formerly of Granton Street, Bradford, was 26 when he was jailed for life in November 2005 for stabbing his former girlfriend Dawn McGarry in a frenzied knife attack.

Leeds Crown Court heard how he had disguised himself and lay in wait for her to return to her home in Daniel Court, Holme Wood.

During the attack Weston threw his victim to the ground, took hold of her hair and pulled it back so that her throat was exposed.

The complainant used her hands to protect herself, but Weston then stabbed her repeatedly as a friend pleaded with him to stop.

Miss McGarry lapsed in and out of consciousness and needed surgery at hospital for seven separate wounds.

Mr Justice Simon said the minimum time Weston would have to serve in custody would be reduced by a third to ten years because of his guilty plea.

Miss Temkow stressed that Weston had not made any attempt to approach or contact his former girlfriend while back in Bradford, but Judge Jonathan Rose said she would have been caused very great fear if she was aware that he was in the area.

Weston took part in today’s hearing via a video link to HMP Leeds and Judge Rose said his domestic reasons for returning to Bradford did not justify his actions in escaping.

The judge sentenced Weston to 12 months in prison for the escape offence, but noted that the impact would be any future parole decisions.

Miss Temkow said Weston expressed remorse for the offence and any upset he may have caused his ex-partner.

“He will be seriously affected by this in relation to getting out in the future,” conceded Miss Temkow.

The court heard that Weston was due to have a parole hearing in January next year and Miss Temkow added: “This will affect that hearing substantially.

“It is very difficult to be released when (you) are not in an open prison...and he is no longer eligible for open prison status.”